Family Records, or Genealogies of The First Settlers of Passaic Valley
by John Littell
Littell, John. Family Records, or Genealogies of The First Settlers of Passaic Valley. 1852. 504 pages.
Cathy L. O'Connor has prepared an Every Name Index that makes research in this unindexed book easier.
John Littell Sr. was a Justice of the Peace among other local offices. And he was apparently the first of the family to serve in the state legislator, as an Assemblyman in 1837 and 1838. (J. Littell, 247; N. Littell, 1:153). Late in life he published a massive genealogy of Passaic Valley families including his own, as cited. A work that is still valuable, if used with a little care. It was printed in the Feltville section of New Providence Twp.
Source: Miller, John T., Jr. The Last Farms of Berkeley Heights.
A 1976 Review by Genealogical Publishing Co.
With few exceptions this work bears reference to every family that can be traced to the Passaic Valley previous to the year 1800. It is a massive compilation, treating several generations in the direct line (generally identifying the first in the Passaic Valley line and continuing through four, five, and six generations), and it is surprisingly good in the elucidation of family relationships. Seven years in preparation, the work names certainly no fewer than 25,000 persons. In the manner of the older compendia and genealogical collections, most of the data in this volume is undocumented, but there is such a tremendous accumulation of information that good clues abound. In this connection we quote from the author's Preface: Much pains have been taken to obtain correct information respecting families. Wherever family records could be obtained, they have been used; but in most cases no such record could be had. I therefore had to depend on the memory of some one or more of the family...."
Source: Genealogical Publishing Co., brochure, Spring 1976. As cited in Littell's Living Age. Sec. 2, Vol. 2, No. l, 4508 Fall, l976, pp. 17-19.
The book has numerous errors and some speculation at the beginning as to the parentage of the first John Littell and Samuel (see Littell's Living Age, 1:1:17.19; 1:5:30). pages 213 to 261 cover the Littells, most of them descendants of Samuel, and those families which remained in New Jersey. The author lost contact with families which moved west. No mention is made of Job, Jonah, or Samuel Squier Littell or their descendants. The remaining, larger part of the book covers the following families of the Passaic Valley:
Allen, Alward, Badgley, Bailey, Baker, Baldwin, Ball, Beach, Bebout, Bedell, Bedford, Bonnel, Boyle, Brittin, Broadwell, Brown, Burrows, Byram, VanCampen, Carle, Cauldwell or Colwell, Clark, Cole, Conklin, Connet, Cooper, Coriell, Corwin, Cory, Craig, Crane, Davis, Day, Dickerson, Dodd, Doty, Drake, Dunham, Elmer, Finley, Flinn, Frazee, French, Griffin, Hall, Hallock, Halsey, Hand, Hart, Heath, Hedges, High, Hill, Hole, Hurin, Jennings, Johnson, Jones, Kirkpatrick, Lacy, Lamb, Lambert, Line, Little, Littell, Long, Ludlow, Ludlum, Lum, Lyon, Marshall, Martin, Maxwell, Meeker, Miller, Morehouse, Mulford, Noe, Oakley, Osborn, Parker, Parrot, Parsons, Petit, Potter, Price, Raddin, Randolph, Riggs, Robison, Roff, Roll, Ross, Ruckman, Runyon, Rutan, Samson, Sayre, Scudder, Shipman, Shotwell, Van Sickle, Terry, Simpson, Smalley, Smith, Spencer, Squier, Stelle, Stewart, Stites, Terril, Thomas, Thompson, Tilyou, Titus, Totten, Townley, Tucker, Vail, Valentine, Walker, Ward, Whitaker, Williams, Willcox and Wood.
The book is not indexed, but the above families are in alphabetical order. In the Morristown, N.J. public library there is a companion book which is an index of all names found in John Littell's book.
The Passaic River arises in the Great Swamp area of Morris County, New Jersey, about 30 miles due west of New York City. It flows northeast through Chatham to Paterson, then turns south and empties into Newark Bay. Since the river flows north at Chatham, the valley above Chatham is south of that town and is the area covered by the book.
A Map of Passaic Valley from the Stone House Village to Chatham, N.J. including New Providence Township and also Sterlings Valley North of Long Hill. From Records and Actual Survey by John Littell 1845 is the title of a chart showing the parcels of land with the owner's name on each. Robert Burgess Littell had copies of this map made, 2.5 feet x 3.5 feet. There are two versions of this map, the original, and a tracing:
- Littell, John. A Map of Passaic Valley from the Stone House Village to Chatham N.J: Including New Providence Township and Also Sterlings Valley North of Long Hill. New Jersey, 1845.
- Littell, John. A Map of Passaic Valley from the Stone House Village to Chatham N.J: Including New Providence Township and Also Sterlings Valley North of Long Hill. New Jersey, 1931. (Traced from the original by L.H.A., June 1931.)
John Littell's book was printed by David Felt in Feltville, N.J., a town now part of Berkeley Heights and included in the Watchung Reservation of the Union County park system. In 1846 Felt erected a whole town for his paper factory and printing business. But this is a different, fascinating story of how a flourishing community arose and fell into decay and became known as the Deserted Village.
(We are indebted to: "Old Families of New Providence," article in the "Summit Herald" of June 24, 1924, contributed by Miss Mary Morris Littell; "The Deserted Village," by J.B. Hawley, 1964; Mrs. Robert Burgess Littell and Mrs. Bertha Townley Swain.)
John Littell's handwritten notes listing descendante of Obadiah Valentine.
Contributed by Winifred Littell Blacklock, John Littell's great-granddaughter.
Source: Littell's Living Age. Sec. 2, Vol. 2, No. l, 4508 Fall, l976, pp. 17-19.
from the 1852 edition
It is an interesting object of curiosity to most men to search into the origin of their own families, to trace their descents, and to collect the history of the individuals who compose them. However remote in time or consanguinity, it is natural to believe that we inherit from our fathers their mental and physical peculiarities, though modified by circumstances. We enter affectionately into their concerns, and rejoice in their honors or prosperity, and are personally grieved by their misconduct or misfortunes.
These sentiments are undoubtedly founded in the innate and best feelings of the human heart, which delights in multiplying and extending the ties that bind us to our fellow creatures. The love of our kindred is the first degree of expansion of the heart in its progress towards universal benevolence. The history of states is but a history of families.
To satisfy this curiosity, in some measure, has been my aim in collecting the materials for the genealogies in this publication. Much pains have been taken to obtain correct information respecting families. Wherever family records could be obtained, they have been used; but in most cases no such record could be had. I therefore had to depend on the memory of some one or more of the family, and in consequence, no doubt, many errors may be found; but I hope for the most part the names are correct. With the exception of one or two, every family may be traced back to some branch that lived in Passaic Valley previous to the year 1800.
I have now submitted to the public, and especially those whose families or ancestors are named, the labors of some seven years, hoping that some, at least, will be pleased to learn something more of their ancestors and connections than they would otherwise have known.
Passaic Valley, New Providence, April, 1852.
Source: Littell, John. Family records, or, Genealogies of the first settlers of Passaic Valley and vicinity above Chatham, with their ancestors and descendants as far as can now be ascertained. Feltville, NJ: Stationers' Hall Press, 1851. First Edition. Octavo.
Littell, John. Family records, or, Genealogies of the first settlers of Passaic Valley and vicinity above Chatham, with their ancestors and descendants as far as can now be ascertained. Feltville, N.J.: D. Felt, 1852.
Littell, John. Family records, or, Genealogies of the first settlers of Passaic Valley and vicinity above Chatham, with their ancestors and descendants as far as can now be ascertained, an HTML version at Morris County NJGenWeb.
Anonymous. An Index of Littell's Passaic Valley Genealogies: Not Including Those Names Listed Under Their Own Family Names. Repository: Personal library of William Henry Roll.